And into the terrible night…
From Tuesday night through Friday it stretched, the dense scratchy and polluted sleep that isn’t sleep at all, but a sort of enduring of what cannot be changed or avoided. Dirty water that cannot wash clean, a rainbow scum of oil, algae, and debris floating on the brackish cup you must drink from.
Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
There is nothing to do but go through it, sweating and shivering and wracked with pain; my mouth blooming foul and white again with thrush; endless showers to distract the nerves a bit, just a bit, sitting on the shower floor and letting the water wash over me again and again, and falling back heavy into my bed; the heat pressing me flat and the sudden chills. The dogs barking their heads off at 2:00 am; people who came and went in the house; the neighbors’ alarm at 3:00 am; the endless noise and interrupted dreams of coughing up thick chunks of blood. The taste of the fungicide, bitter and dry under the too sweet overtaste. Nausea, nausea and Saltines, trying to get enough water and never quite managing to push through the exhaustion; rising and falling through the waves, waiting for shore.
Taking Claritin helps cut the pain, by all means, but not enough, 5 to 6 hours of the needed 12, and I’m still refusing the heavier drugs and their deeper sleep. I can bear anything as long as it’s for a finite period.
Thursday night when I got up for my midnight shower, I was able to stand (leaning, but otherwise unsupported) long enough to brush and floss my teeth- a minor victory. Friday Ron came by and made me French toast, and I ate my first meal other than Saltines, weak as a kitten still.
Since then I’ve been gorging myself, making up for the few days off, regaining my strength. My legs are still tired, you’d think I’d actually done something exceptionally energetic over the last week rather than lie in bed eating bon-bons; my feet burn with neuropathy, a minor enough pain that it gets subsumed during the truly bad days but irritating in its own ineffable way.
I missed both Belladrum (in Scotland, I’ve had tickets since last year), and the Festival of Fools (right here). I’ve decided what I really need for days like these is a big wicker Victorian bath chair and a minion to push it – though had I been at Bella, I would have needed an amphibious version from what I hear. With huge tyres* to cut through the mudfields and keep me far above the hoi polloi.
If not that, how about a steampunk model? Save the minions for the important tasks!
One more to go through and this section will be done and over, thank ye gods and little fishes. Two out of three of the Holy Trifecta of ‘Slash, Poison, Burn’, and pray you never have to go through it again; hope the ground’s well salted, the seed killed, and its like not to come again.
It’s a sair fecht for half a loaf. Indeed.
And it’s almost over.
* Well, I would be in the UK, it’s only fair to use their dubious spelling, eh?